A day in Reception Class - Portsmouth High School

A day in Reception Class

The foundation of the learning journey at Portsmouth High School

Early years education is the foundation of the learning journey for all our pupils and at Portsmouth High School we provide a nurturing and supportive environment that allows children to flourish both socially and academically.

In our Pre-School and Reception classes we strive to inspire, motivate and encourage pupils to be curious about the world around them and instil a passion for lifelong learning.

We understand the individual needs of every pupil and challenge them to explore and develop their thinking. Working closely with each child we develop their resilience, equipping them with confidence and independence to prepare them for their future learning.

Find out more about learning in Reception Class from Head of Early Years and Reception Class teacher, Mrs Victoria Fabre De La Grange.


Lessons, lunch and playtime in Reception Class

Reception Class at Portsmouth HIgh School

Arrival at school

Girls come happily into school at the start of the day and are greeted by the Reception Class teacher and Early Years team.

After everyone has settled and registration is finished, the girls gather on the carpet to catch up on news and find out what exciting activities are planned for the day ahead both inside the classroom and out in the extensive grounds of the school.

Reception Class at Portsmouth High School


Reception Class enjoy morning assemblies in the hall with the rest of the school and confidently take part in all that is going on.

In the picture here it is Easter bonnet day and Reception Class have just paraded in their wonderful Easter bonnets.

At celebration assembly on a Friday girls receive badges and certificates for their achievements both in school and out. Once a term each class gives a presentation to which parents are invited to enjoy seeing their daughter perform and grow in confidence. Afterwards coffee and cake with the headmaster provides an excellent opportunity to build strong home school links.

Ballet at Portsmouth High School


Ballet at Portsmouth High School begins in Pre-School and continues as part of the timetable in Reception Class.

Starting ballet from an early age helps the girls improve co-ordination, balance, and control of their bodies in motion. It also improves flexibility, is a good form of exercise and helps the girls become comfortable with performing in groups with people watching. As girls move through the school there are opportunities to join ballet and dance co-curricular clubs to nurture their interest.

Computer lessons in Reception Class at Portsmouth High Prep School


Computing lessons take place in a dedicated computer suite in the main building of the Prep School.

Lesson activities in computing include iPad based learning, photography, programmable robots and learning to code using Scratch Junior and Discovery Code. By the end of the year in Reception Class all children can use basic code to create simple moving pictures.

Reception Class teacher at Portsmouth High School

English and Phonics

English topic work involves daily exciting explorations into some of the best children’s literature, both classic and modern as well as science, history and geography based topics.

Cursive script is introduced from the earliest attempt at writing and high levels of achievement in this area become a real strength in later years.

Children work on developing a good awareness of phonic sounds for reading and spelling each day. Working groups are small enough for each girl to receive individual attention.

Forest School at Portsmouth High Prep School

Forest School

In the grounds of the Prep School there are raised beds for planting produce and girls plant fruit and vegetables in the spring and harvest them in summer.

During the winter, fun around the fire pit and making popcorn on chilly days is part of the learning process about fire safety and how to assess risk.

Forest school lessons promote confidence, taking risk safely and developing personal resilience.

Pre-School at Portsmouth High School


French begins in Pre-School and in Reception Class girls continue to enhance their French speaking skills.

A popular activity in French lessons is learning a range of songs including ‘les animaux’ and then going on an exciting animal hunt around the classroom. The animals the girls find are counted in French and large, colourful visual aids are used to develop French number recall. A rousing chorus of ‘Les Roues de L’autobus’ is often heard in the Early Years classrooms.

Lunchtime at Portsmouth High School


Meals can be tailored to meet specific dietary requirements as required.

The girls enjoy trying new foods and can make a selection from a wide variety of healthy choices.

The class sits together with their teacher to provide a warm and social environment conducive to building positive eating habits and meal time social skills.

Reception Class mathematics lesson


Throughout the year the girls are introduced to new mathematical concepts such as telling the time, using money for addition, 3D shape and baking to explore measuring techniques.

Children make measurable progress and are able to link their knowledge between topic areas. This provides a strong number foundation to prepare them for transition to the Year 1 mathematics curriculum.

Music in Reception Class at Portsmouth High Prep School

Music Lessons

In Reception Class girls are taught by a specialist music teacher.

One of the projects they work on is learning how to create a graphic score as the first stage in producing their very own music composition. The girls have used an imaginary journey through the Prep School gardens, stopping off at different points along the way to help develop an ability to use tempo.

The graphic scores the class created were showcased to the whole school in one of Friday’s celebration assemblies.

Reception Class reading in a library lesson


A love of books is nurtured from an early age and staff listen to children read regularly.

Portsmouth High Prep School has its own dedicated library which the girls visit each week to choose interesting books, helped by the school’s librarian. This is in addition to their daily, individual phonics and reading undertaken in class.

The girls enjoy class reading time and they remain highly engaged when they are listening to stories and non-fiction texts throughout the school week.

Eco initiatives at Portsmouth High School GDST

Science lessons

Reception Class often engage in simple scientific experiments outside in the grounds to help them understand concepts taught in class.

Girls are encouraged to bring in interesting items from home, linked to science lessons in school, and share what they have learnt with their family.

Speakers regularly come into school and recently Reception Class were delighted to welcome Dr Gostling, a paleontologist from the University of Southampton, who came to talk about dinosaurs in support of topic work in class.

Space to play

Ancient trees, a vegetable garden, wild flowers and a two storey Grecian-style folly set into a sunken dell, provide the perfect backdrop for girls to create imaginative role play scenarios.

The Prep School has a large outdoor space for the girls’ physical education lessons, matches, outdoor lessons and a variety of events. There is a grass area for sport together with netball and tennis courts. A new all-weather sports pitch has just been installed in the grounds providing another great environment for sport, whatever the weather. The girls also enjoy the wonderful large wooden climbing frame on the lawn for developing coordination.

Pets at Portsmouth High Prep School

Prep School Pets

Pip and Squeak, Portsmouth High Prep School’s own pet guinea pigs, are very much a part of the school.

The guinea pigs visit each classroom on a rota basis and the girls are responsible for their daily care. On fine days the guinea pigs enjoy the grass outside in their run.

Pippin, Headmaster Mr Marshallsay’s own pet Cockapoo, is a regular visitor to the school. Pippin checks in on classroom activities and is always happy to listen to reading. He is always enthusiastic about a game of fetch outside. Mrs West’s dog Yogi, a working Cocker Spaniel, is also a regular visitor and can often be seen helping in Forest School sessions.

Reception Class home time

Home Time

The Prep School day ends at 3.40pm and there are an excellent choice of co-curricular activities after school for girls to get involved in.

Free wraparound care for the children starts at 7.30am with Early Birds’ Breakfast Club. Aftercare runs from 3.40pm until 6.00pm where there are lots of activities to keep the girls happily entertained. Wrapround care makes life easier for busy parents giving peace of mind and there is no extra charge.